By Brian Starkman
The C.W. Post Women’s Volleyball team welcomed three freshmen this season, Shayla Hixson and Jordan Schroer from the island of Oahu, and Maka Namahoe from Hawaii. But the girls brought a lot more from the tropical island than their knee pads.
“On Oahu [Hawaii] it’s really Aloha friendly,” said Schroer, an outside hitter. “You smile at everyone, and say hi. Everyone is your uncle and auntie, everyone is ‘ohana; everyone is family.” The other girls didn’t argue this sentiment, in fact they agreed on just about everything except their favorite dishes they missed from home.
“I miss the food from back home,” exclaimed Namahoe. “We’ve had our families ship some food up here and a lot of the people aren’t really feeling it,” she said grinning. “Nobody likes spam here.”
And that could be the only thing they don’t like. The girls were greeted by a couple of teammates as they sat talking about their 5,000 mile journey to Post. “Longest flight of my life,” Namahoe said smirking. As for her parents, they weren’t too thrilled to see their daughter go so far. “After seeing your kids grow up and watch them play all the time, yeah they weren’t too happy about it, but they’ll get over it.”
“My parent’s kind of took a different side,” said Hixson. “They wanted me to experience something different.”
“You need to go away to appreciate it,” Namahoe interjected. As for Schroer, the decision to come here wasn’t as overwhelming. “I have family from Scarsdale, so it wasn’t that big of a deal for me.” Her aunties and uncles actually filled a small section of the stands and could be seen giving out leis to the girls after their second match of the day, a sweep of the Owls of Southern Connecticut 3 – 0 (the girls swept Pace 3 – 0 earlier in the day).
It’s safe to say the girls are enjoying their new island experience; however, many students may question why they even came. “Every time you tell someone that you’re from Hawaii they look at you funny and ask, ‘Why’d you come here?’” Hixson, also an outside hitter said sharply. “We get asked that every time!”
Their accents make them noticeable off the court and have been the basis for a lot of playful jokes from other students. “Everyone teases me about my accent.” Hixson said laughing and the girls agreed. “But we have our own lingo,” Namahoe added. “Everyone seems to be catching on to it too, I think they like it.”
But what has gotten the girl’s most excited is what will occur once their sports season has ended…a new season will start. And this is one they’ve haven’t experienced yet. “I’ve never seen snow!” repeated Namahoe and neither has Hixson. Conveniently both of them forgot to pack any type of shoe other than their sneakers and slippers (flip-flops in our region). “I don’t even have a coat,” Hixson chuckled.
The girls became animated at their first sight of a squirrel. “I always get shocked when I see one,” cried Namahoe, an outside hitter who made 11 kills in the second match. “We’re used to seeing them in character form, talking to me!” Schroer said laughing with the other girls. “We have everything but squirrels, so it’s neat to see.”
The three of them are enjoying their first taste of campus life, which surprisingly isn’t the crazy non-stop action they thought it would be and they were amazed at how friendly people are to one another. Schroer explained, “When you live in Hawaii and you bring it here, and get people to say ‘ohana, call people auntie and uncle, it’s just nice to spread that aloha spirit to the east coast.”